Thursday, January 26, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

SIA Newsletter 1 20 2012 - Special School (Construction) Election on Tuesday, January 24, 3 pm to 9 pm

This Tuesday, from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm, there will be a special school election with two questions on the ballot. We hope all registered voters will take time to vote at the Firehouse.

Background: Children in Upper Township attend four public schools: Upper Township Primary School (K through 2 with pre-school); Upper township Elementary School (grades 3 to 5); Upper Township Middle School (grades 6 to 8) and Ocean City High School. The Primary and Elementary schools are almost adjacent in Marmora and the Middle School is out in Petersburg, past the Township Building.

All three Upper Township schools are in "bad shape". The school board proposed a $15.9 million dual project, funded at 40% by the State, to make substantial renovations to the Primary and Middle schools. Last April, by a 3 to 2 margin, the voters turned it down.
The school board then had a Building and Grounds Committee, with a number of residents, take another look at the proposal. Because of the State funding, they could not materially change the project but instead split it into two parts: $12.5 million for "crucial" work on the two schools, and $3.4 million for work that is less crucial or could be done over time with other resources. If the voters approve either the "crucial" work or both pieces, the State will pay 40% of the cost. That State commitment expires next month, in February.
The property tax impact for a Strathmere property assessed at $1.0 million would be an additional $263 annually for Part 1 (Bond Proposal #1) and another $71 for Bond Proposal #2. If you are "lucky" enough to have your property assessed at $500,000, the impact would be half; if you are "lucky" enough to have your property assessed at $2 million, it would double.

Note that this  only provides for the Primary and Middle schools. The Elementary School, which is in even worse shape, probably needs to be replaced. The School Board had previously planned to build a new elementary school, but the election defeat last April has caused them to reconsider and they are looking at building an addition to the Primary School that would accomodate grades K through 5 in one building. While less expensive than a new building, this will still be very costly.

To summarize, here are the figures in chart form ($000 for bond proposals):

Bond Proposal     -                        # 1             2               Total

State Portion           -                    $5,014      $1,353        $6,367

Upper Twp Portion       -              $7,521       $2,030        $9,551

Total                         -                  $12,535     $3,383        $15,918

Annual Property Tax Increase   -  $263           $71             $334         ($1.0 million assessment)

Elementary School Cost and Tax Impact: To Be Determined

Here are two letters to the Upper Township Gazette by folks who served on the Buildings and Grounds Committee, the first by Strathmere's own Ted Kingston and the second by a mainland resident. Both are worth reading.

Ted Kingston 12/14/2011 letter

John Mirenda 12/27/2011 letter

The "elephant" in the room" for us, of course, is that while we pay about one-sixth of the cost of the schools, we have no Strathmere children attending any Upper Township schools (or OCHS).

However you feel, please get out and vote on Tuesday!

You may not have noticed, but on December 22, for subscribers in Strathmere and Whale Beach, Comcast moved the Upper Township Public Channel from Channel 96 to Channel 2. We no longer receive the public channel that carried information for Sea Isle City, Avalon and Stone Harbor.

Thanks once again to all for your continuing support of the SIA (start saving up for your 2012 dues payments)!

Linda Bateman
Elaine Holsomback
Donna Diefenderfer
Dorothy Addario
Ken Weaver

Saturday, January 14, 2012

SIA Newsletter 1 14 2012 - No Trash Collection Monday; Poaching in Corson's Inlet State Park

To All Strathmere and Whale Beach Homeowners and Visitors,
Just a short reminder that due to the Martin Luther King Holiday, trash won't be collected until this Tuesday - and recycling won't be collected until Monday, January 23.See:

And once again, Upper Township will be picking up Christmas trees at the curb during the month of January. Please use this service and do not place trees on or near the beach.

Here's a sad story on the Ocean City website. A poacher on the Ocean City side of Corson's Inlet State Park set traps that resulted in the cruel death of several deer...

And thanks to all for your continuing support of the SIA!
Linda Bateman
Elaine Holsomback
Donna Diefenderfer
Dorothy Addario
Ken Weaver

Sunday, January 01, 2012

SIA Newsletter 12 31 2011 - Happy New Year!!! Please Don't Put Your Christmas Tree On the Beach!

To All Strathmere and Whale Beach Homeowners and Visitors

We wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe 2012!
Many of us will be disposing of Christmas trees following the holidays. We always thought placing our trees on the beach was a good thing, to build up the dunes. It turns out that this is not true!

Carol Ferguson, Chairperson of the Environmental Committee of the Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club, was touring our beach two years ago with Chris Miller (US Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service - Cape May Plant Materials Center), concerning dune grass planting in Strathmere. Chris stated that we are no longer permitted to dump Christmas trees or yard debris on the dunes, due to the destruction of critical natural vegetation when these items are placed there. Such dumping can also preclude the creation and protection of habitat used by threatened and endangered bird species.

Here is a very disappointing example: Neptune Road on the ocean side between Williams and Seacliff. So much debris has been placed in this area (right by a sign that states $1,000 fine for dumping) that the natural vegetation has died. This area is prime for Beach Plum and Goldenrod planting, but that cannot be done until all the debris is removed.

Upper Township will be picking up Christmas trees at the curb every week during the month of January. Please use this service and do not place trees on or near the beach. Thanks!!

Remember, we will have both trash and recycling picked up on Tuesday, January 3.

Strathmere's Schiavo Library recently published their January Newsletter, and you can view it (and previous newsletters) here -

December has been amazingly mild, so several of us have been able to take daily outside showers right into 2012. The forecast is for cold weather Monday and even colder Tuesday and Wednesday, so it looks like our run has ended...
With the end of 2011, this is the last time you'll see the current lineup of the SIA Board shown below. Linda Bateman becomes our president, and Elaine Holsomback joins the Board as Vice-President.
We do want to pay special tribute to our outgoing president, Butch Vandegrift. Following the death of Elizaberth Bergus, the SIA was in danger of ending its long record of service to Strathmere. Butch, with great help from wife Debbie and from Donna Diefenderfer, revived the organization and we cannot thank him enough!

Thanks to all for your continuing support of the SIA!

Butch Vandegrift - President
Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary